Friday, October 30, 2009

Thanks to my friend, playwright and audio engineer Cyrus Leddy, I have a recording of myself babbling about my book XOMBIES: APOCALYPSE BLUES. Cyrus secretly caught this talk at my book-release party, so I hope I didn't say anything too incriminating. If you care to listen to it, another friend of mine, web expert Brian Greene, has kindly posted the link on my homepage.

In other news, I just took part in the big Halloween chat at Writerspace. Completely nuts, that's all I can say. It was like being in a room full of people all talking at once--I couldn't type fast enough to keep up. It probably didn't matter anyway, since I really think it might have been the wrong crowd for my book. But one thing we could all agree on was how much we love chocolate!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

It's time again for the annual Writerspace Halloween Party, to celebrate the chill in the air and find some terrific books to curl up with this fall! So please join me and dozens of your favorite authors at the 2009 Halloween Mash at Writerspace on Wednesday, October 28th from 8pm ET to 11pm ET. Authors will be dropping in to chat all during the evening and we will be giving away 100s of new books and other fantastic prizes -- autographed, hard-to-find, advance copies plus special treats like gift baskets and more. We hope to see you Wednesday night! You don't have to be present to win, but you must be registered. To register, and for details on all participating authors and the prizes they're giving away, visit

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

A reader just sent me this picture of the Valhalla installation in XOMBIES: APOCALYPSE BLUES. If you've read the book, this is a pretty accurate depiction of the place. If you haven't read it, SPOILER ALERT! A minor spoiler, but still...

Thanks, Jaybee!

Monday, October 19, 2009

Kimber An, most excellent curator of the book blog, writes in to ask about the future of the human race if almost all the women in the world are marauding Xombies. It's a good question, and one I'm surprised no one else has asked. What's the point of surviving the apocalypse if human extinction is inevitable anyway? Is our only purpose to reproduce? What about love--does love matter in such a world? What if we had the choice to become monsters ourselves, and explore that strange new state of being? If all that's left is to either die or become a Xombie, which would you choose? Or would you keep suffering, fighting, searching for a third option...right up to the bitter end? That's the hard decision that Lulu and the other characters in the story are wrestling with, even if only subconsciously: They and their world are already dead--they just won't lie down.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Hey, check out the cool cover art for my next novel XOMBIES: APOCALYPTICON (release date: Feb. 29th. 2010). That's Sal DeLuca there on the cover, wearing his BMX jacket. I have to say I love that tagline--whoever at Ace Books came up with that, thank you. Also that red color scheme makes a nice companion for the blue scheme of XOMBIES: APOCALYPSE BLUES.

Speaking of which, XOMBIES: APOCALYPSE BLUES has officially been on sale for one week. I'm freaking out thinking I should be doing something, but I don't know quite what. I've been dropping by bookstores to sign their copies, which is good, but sometimes they have no copies and then I'm sad. My next actual book signing is at Pandemonium Books (4 Pleasant St. in Cambridge, MA) at 7pm on Wednesday, Oct. 21st. It's a cool store, so I'm looking forward to that. I'll also be joining an online chat on WriterSpace from 8-8:30pm on October 28, and I think XOMBIES will be a featured book on the Fresh Fiction website that same day. Plus I'm having a book giveaway on Goodreads through Dec. 7th.

Monday, October 05, 2009

Why did I make the Xombie plague strike women first? Is it because I hate women? No, of course not--it's because I wanted to turn the tables on men. Considering the horrible way women are treated in most of the world, I thought it would be interesting (and sort of funny) to create a situation where suddenly it is men who are the "weaker sex," forced to hide and flee for their lives from rapacious women. But rather than have a man be the focus of the story, I decided to flip the situation even more by having a teenage girl tell the tale--a girl who is seemingly immune to the Maenad epidemic, and who must cope with not only Xombies but also paranoid, hostile males.

Saturday, October 03, 2009

What are Xombies? That's a good question, and I'll answer it by briefly explaining what I was shooting for when I started writing the original Xombies back in 2001.

I was strongly influenced by George Romero's zombie movies as a kid, and I was also a fan of an earlier film that inspired George: The Last Man on Earth, based on Richard Matheson's novel, I Am Legend. I always thought it might be fun to write a zombie book or perhaps a movie script, but I didn't want to steal Romero's flesh-eating, shoot-'em-in-the-head type zombies--that would be lazy. I wanted to invent a new type of zombie...and an original story angle that turned the more boring genre tropes on their heads. I was sick of the whole genre thing, and had almost stopped reading because mainstream books were all designed to fit in their little slots. Life does not fit into any genre, and my dream was to write a book that was as bizarre, as funny, and as disturbingly random as life.

So I thought: Throw out the tough-guy action hero. I would make my hero an underdeveloped, unhappy teenage girl--the Last Girl on Earth. You want zombies? I'll give you Xombies--but forget about shooting them in the head. My creatures would be unstoppable unless you minced them...and even then the mincemeat would come for you. But how would anyone escape such creatures?

Aye, there was the rub. How could anyone survive such a plague? But then it hit me: In a nuclear submarine! And this was very convenient because I knew a bit about submarines, having worked the graveyard shift at a submarine factory. I was always fascinated by subs and undersea technology, and I knew I wasn't the only one--the market was full of submarine thrillers. But nobody was writing about submarines filled with teenage refugees fleeing a zombie apocalypse. Nobody was writing about it from the perspective of a teenage girl.